Not Built for Video
Jan 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Dan Daley
How one integrator adapted a Michigan church for better sightlines.
A NEW APPROACH
Parkway's designers came up with several proposed solutions, including adding additional front-projection screens on either side of the stage and at a much higher position. Instead, they chose an approach that involved a significant modification of the front of the sanctuary behind the stage to accommodate a larger, high-definition screen that would remain stationary in a viewing position as optimal as possible for the overall building's layout. This also meant that the project would require significant coordination and co-planning with the project's general contractor. In a twist on that usual relationship, it would be the systems integrator doing an architectural design that the contractor would need to execute.
“It was kind of a tail-wagging-the-dog scenario,” Zandstra says. “But this was all being designed and built around the video system, so the needs of that system had to come first.
“We had looked at all of the possible ways to put video in there, and we came to several conclusions. First, we had to stick with a rear-projection approach for several reasons: The balcony, where it would have made the most sense to mount a front projector, is subject to vibrations from people using it. That could cause the projector to require constant aiming adjustments as well as distracting movement of images being projected. Additionally, aesthetic and maintenance issues made flying the projector in front of or above the balcony area impractical. The advantage of a rear projector is that we can control the aim more precisely and control the amount of light that gets behind the screen. Rear projection would give us a better image and better sight lines, allowing more of those seated in the church to actually see it.”
The structural modifications called for about 7ft. of the existing assembly that formed the backdrop behind the stage to be removed, including the relocation of at least one structural beam inside it. This would create an opening for a 79”×140” Draper 116023QL Targa screen, which offered a 16:9 aspect ratio for HD video.
“Measurements at this stage were critical,” Zandstra says. Those measurements included distances from specific locations in the main seating area and the balcony, as well as calculating the critical space between the screen location and the rear brick wall of the church — which would impact screen size, projection location and mounting, and mirror positioning.
“We measured, once, twice, then we measured again,” says Jeff VandeHoef, Parkway's system engineer on the project.
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